Monday, June 21, 2010

Cincinnati Opera & Ryan Seacrest - on the same stage - on the same night

Cincinnati Opera kicked off its 90th season with a gala concert Saturday hosted by none other than Ryan Seacrest... as if he wasn't doing enough.

"I accepted because I was honored and, frankly, it's something different," [Seacrest] said. "I think the most interesting thing for me is that this is the purest, most authentic form of performance in the world.

"Cincinnati opera has got such a great history, so the extent that I can be exposed to it, it's a good thing, and for people who wouldn't normally see it, it's great for the music."

Seacrest said he's never done anything like this before. "I have been asked to sing for this type of event," he said, "but I get disqualified before the main event. ... I realized early on it's better being around the music and not performing the music."
I know he's trying and I fully adore that fact. But, while I applaud the comments that his handlers came up with during the media training for this event, let me be the first to say: "Seacrest .. OUT!"

I know he lent some A-List cred. to the event, but honestly folks? I don't think I am the only one still rolling my eyes.

The star-studded evening boasted a roster of performers that was a who's who of Cincinnati Opera and opera in general - certainly not A-List, but I'd say B+++. Again from
Renowned opera stars Carol Neblett and Sherrill Milnes hosted the concert of scenes, arias and choruses hailing nine decades of grand opera in Cincinnati.

A group of three tenors - Richard Leech, Russell Thomas and Gregory Turay - performed the Three Tenors anthem, "Nessun dorma." And famed soprano Christine Brewer, celebrated for her Wagner roles, made her debut in "Dich, teure Halle" from Wagner's

American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves returned to perform a reprise of "A Quality Love," from
Margaret Garner, a role she created for the opera's world premiere in 2005. Based on a true local story by Richard Danielpour and Nobel-laureate Toni Morrison, Margaret Garner was co-commissioned by Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Company of Philadelphia.

The program crescendoed to the grandiose Triumphal Scene from Verdi's
Aida, starring Angela Brown, the world's reigning Aida, with Graves in the role of Amneris.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera Chorus, May Festival Chorus, members of the Allen Temple A.M.E. Choir and the Cincinnati Ballet also participated, led by maestros Eduardo Müller, Henri Venanzi and Steven Reineke.
This sounds like an absolutely stellar evening, Friends. I mean, let's be honest: Angela Brown & Denyce Graves singing Aida/Amneris? I'm sold. When do tickets go on sale?

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